Patterico's Pontifications


The House Has Impeached Donald Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Good for them. This is true:

Now onto the “trial” in the Senate, where the dialogue will go something like this:

SENATE REPUBLICANS AND JOE MANCHIN: The House Democrats were so irresponsible rushing this process. How can we possibly know what happened without hearing from people like Mick Mulvaney or John Bolton??

CHUCK SCHUMER: Well, Trump’s the one who prevented them from testifying, but I know what. Let’s call them to testify now.


I’d like to hear from them, and someday we will know what they would have had to say. If it exonerates Donald Trump (lol), one will wonder why Trump didn’t want those folks subject to questioning. If it damns him, as I expect it will, the Senators who voted to squelch their testimony will go down in history as having been complicit in a partisan cover-up.

Ah well. As Bill Barr said when asked about the possible damage to his reputation resulting from his partisan actions on behalf of Trump: “Everyone dies.” In the meantime, grab as much power as you can and hold onto it for dear life. If doing so requires you to be a toady and a puppet to a maniac, and to surrender everything you hold dear in the process … well, hey. It’s better than being thrown out of office and being a nobody.



The House Should Impeach Donald Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:40 am

Prof. Jonathan Adler has an excellent piece in the New York Daily News titled Why the House must vote yes: Trump is the one who is upsetting our democracy and constitutional order. What I especially like about the piece is that Adler emphasizes what I think is most important: Trump’s Ukraine call is not a one-off, but part of a consistent pattern of abusing the office for personal gain:

A president who uses his power to subvert the workings of our constitutional structure has forfeited any claim to the office, whether or not that president pursues policies or appoints judges we might otherwise support.

If it was correct for Congress to impeach a president for lying under oath in an effort to subvert a legal proceeding — as I believe it was — impeaching President Trump should be a no-brainer.

The current push for impeachment was triggered by revelations that the president sought to induce Ukrainian government officials to announce an investigation into a political rival by withholding congressionally authorized funds. These actions, which are virtually indisputable, represent a profound betrayal of the president’s oath and solemn obligations to our country and Constitution, but they are hardly the only impeachable actions Trump has committed.

On repeated occasions, the president sought to obstruct a lawful inquiry into Russian efforts to interfere with our elections, according to the Mueller Report, including by directing subordinates to create false records that could be used to mislead investigators and dangling pardons before colleagues facing criminal prosecution.

He has also encouraged foreign governments to seek to influence U.S. elections (in his favor, of course) and obstructed legitimate congressional investigations into matters large and small, ranging from the Ukraine matter to his compliance with the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause. He has further given every indication that he sees nothing wrong with his conduct — it is “perfect,” after all — and is likely to continue.

Here’s Trump today, whining about how he was not entitled to witnesses in the House (not entirely true), despite the fact that when he goes to the Senate he … won’t be presenting any witnesses. Sure, he’s engaged in a little kabuki show about how he wants to, but he knows that witness testimony would be bad for him, because the facts and the truth are bad for him. He supposedly wanted to testify to Mueller too. Right.

He has a little shot about Schiff and how they handle people like him “much tougher” in Guatemala. Well. In 1945 the Italians handled a problem with their leader in a manner much tougher than this impeachment. So?

Stuff like this is a reminder why he needs to be gone yesterday.

The House must vote yes. If for no other reason, they must do it so that in the future, I can refer to the president as “impeached president Donald Trump.”

P.S. If you’re outraged at the notion that a conservative site would support impeachment of a Republican president, I’ve got good news for you. Eleven years ago, Donald Trump indicated that he thought impeachment of a Republican president would have been a “wonderful thing”:

“When [Pelosi] first got in and was named speaker,” Trump said to Blitzer then, “I met her. And I’m very impressed by her. I think she’s a very impressive person, I like her a lot.”

“But I was surprised that she didn’t do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush,” he continued. “It just seemed like she was really going to look to impeach Bush and get him out of office. Which personally I think would have been a wonderful thing.”

“For the war,” Trump replied. “For the war! Well, he lied! He got us into the war with lies!”

So supporting impeachment of a Republican president is acceptable, it turns out. After all, if Trump does it, it’s OK. That’s the law!

Anyway, Trump will be impeached today. Which personally I think will be a wonderful thing.

P.P.S. Trump on what a horror show impeachment is for a president. “He would be a mess. He would be thinking about nothing but. It would be a horror show for him. It would be an absolute embarrassment. It would go down on his record permanently.”

That’s you today, soon to be impeached President Donald J. Trump. Enjoy the day. I know I will!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Slow News Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:18 pm

Poking around there is hardly anything to talk about.

Tomorrow, Donald Trump will probably become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. I guess there’s that. He wrote a whiny substance-free screed to Nancy Pelosi. A sample:

You are the ones interfering in America’s elections. You are the ones subverting America’s democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain.

Enjoy, big fella. Impeachment is a bad thing to have on your resume. Tomorrow, it will be on yours.

Meanwhile, the FBI’s reputation continues to take body blows in the wake of the IG report, with the head of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, issuing an eye-opening order to the FBI to propose changes to their process by January 10. Judge Collyer wrote:

The frequency with which representations made by F.B.I. personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other F.B.I. applications is reliable.

Of course, the infant in the Oval Office takes this deplorable state of affairs and uses it to pretend he is innocent:

If anyone knows about SCAMS it’s Donald Trump.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Rick Gates to 45 days today, and had some choice comments, including pointed remarks that seemed directed at the SCAM artist in the White House and his surrogates, including the broomstick driver working for Trump with the last name of Conway:

In total, more than $75 million flowed through the offshore accounts. Manafort laundered more than $18 million, which was used by him to buy property goods and services in the United States, income that he concealed from the United States Treasury, the Department of Justice and others. Gates transferred more than $3 million from the offshore accounts to other accounts that he controlled.

Those are facts. Those are not alleged facts, those are not alternative facts, or a narrative created by the media.

. . . .

One of the letter writers said that he got caught up in D.C. political drama. But I reject that. It’s perfectly possible to conduct yourself with ethics, integrity, and no hint of scandal, even in politics, even in D.C., even in Ukraine. Politics don’t corrupt people, people corrupt politics.

Berman noted that Gates’s information

included firsthand information about confidential campaign polling data being transmitted at the direction of the head of the campaign to one of those individuals to be shared with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs.

It included firsthand information about a meeting within the campaign concerning attending a meeting with Russians for the sole stated purpose of providing information that could be used against Hillary Clinton. And it included firsthand information about claims made by an individual close to the campaign to be in contact with WikiLeaks concerning the release of emails obtained when the DNC computers were hacked.

Yup. Can’t really find a genuine news story to comment on. It’s a snoozefest out there.

Gear up for tomorrow. I’ll likely be popping open a bottle of bourbon to celebrate.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

California Progressives Once Again Butt Up Against the Law of Unintended Consequences

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:05 pm

[guest post by JVW]

This past fall the California Assembly, at the behest of their union overlords, threw a haymaker punch at Uber and Lyft but instead have knocked down Vox Media:

Hundreds of freelance writers at Vox Media, primarily those covering sports for the SB Nation site, will lose their jobs in the coming months as the company prepares for a California law to go into effect that will force companies to reclassify contractors in the state as employees.

“This is a bittersweet note of thanks to our California independent contractors,” John Ness, executive director of SB Nation, wrote in a post on Monday. “In 2020, we will move California’s team blogs from our established system with hundreds of contractors to a new one run by a team of new SB Nation employees.”

In a separate memo seen by CNBC, Ness said that California contractors can apply for a full-time or part-time position in California. Contractors who wish to continue contributing can do so but “need to understand they will not be paid for future contributions,” he said. [. . .]

Imagine that. Perhaps you as a Californian were quite happy serving as an editor and regular contributor of posts to a SB Nation blog such as Bruins Nation or California Golden Blogs. Virtually all of the people who contribute to and maintain those blogs are alumni/ae of that university, and though they did receive some renumeration from SB Nation for their efforts, from what I am told it is certainly not enough to provide a livable income and pretty much everyone involved in the various fan blogs has some other full-time job or a series of other part-time gigs (disclaimer: I know an editor at one of the SB Nation blogs, but I haven’t discussed the ramifications of this legislation with him yet). Because SB Nation does not want to be in the position of figuring out whether drafting and posting content, moderating and engaging with comments, and general site maintenance pushes the contributor over the threshold where they are now required to be treated as full-time employees, they have decided to put the blogs under the management of SB Nation inside staff. Though they do apparently intend to hire some full-time content providers and site administrators, the blogs are also beginning to ask for unpaid volunteers to provide content going forward.

None of this should be surprising to anyone who has the faintest clue as to how the economy works, which of course rules out virtually all legislative Democrats in this state. Assembly Bill 5, shepherded through that body by former labor organizer Lorena Gonzales of San Diego, was controversial from the very beginning. Supporters, namely organized labor and other left-wing groups, insisted that it would prevent workers from being exploited by wealthy tech companies like Uber and Lyft who use independent contractors in order to avoid having to pay benefits such as health and retirement. The companies for their part insisted that it would force them to either limit the hours contractors are allowed to work or else turn them into full employees thus eliminating the ability of workers to schedule their own hours and determine their own flexible workday, which is one of the major benefits of the gig economy.

It will probably not come as a surprise to anyone that Vox, who went through their own downsizing woes a couple of years ago, generally supported AB 5 and the attempt to rein-in this example of unfettered capitalism, and that some wags are already rubbing it in their faces:

Mackowiak Tweet

This battle next moves to the ballot box where the tech companies have pledged to spend as much as $90 million to qualify and promote a ballot initiative to undo the legislation. This also pits social justice-obsessed Silicon Valley against California Democrats, which just may cause some of the loudest and dumbest voices from the tech world to reevaluate their alliances. And though there is scuttlebutt that the movers-and-shakers of the tech sector will freeze out Elizabeth Warren and Bernard Sanders should either one be the Democrats’ nominee in next fall’s election, it would seem that the rank-and-file workers of these digital behemoths are quite fine with the trust-busting and wealth-confiscation that both Lieawatha and the warmed-over Marxist espouse. Maybe someday soon we will look back and say that 2019 was the last gap of the Age of the Triumphant Nerd Mogul.


Ambitious Democrats Eye High-Profile Impeachment Assignment

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:02 pm

[guest post by Dana]

It’s a given that any House member selected by Nancy Pelosi to be an impeachment manager will see his or her political career boosted as a result. And while there is some demurring about even thinking about being selected, we all know that politicians love the spotlight and any opportunity to be in it (for a perceived noble cause, that is) and raise their profiles is goal-worthy. And it doesn’t get any more high profile than an impeachment:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi will decide who and how many impeachment managers will travel to the other side of the Capitol to make arguments, present evidence, question witnesses and more in just the third time in U.S. history that a sitting president has been on trial before the Senate.

Her picks can be political as well as legal, some Democratic lawmakers say. The California Democrat would want members with trial experience who understand the Constitution and the case well — particularly because they must fight in a Republican-controlled Senate.

But Pelosi also holds an opportunity to showcase diversity among the Democratic caucus and spotlight rising members who could use the historic Senate trial as a way to boost their national profile or fundraising power…

While some Democrats claim that they “haven’t given it any thought,” others are jockeying for position:

Behind the scenes, some Democratic members have jostled to be included. Others have taken themselves out of the running over campaign conflicts or because they don’t have as much legal or trial experience.

Some potential impeachment managers are largely keeping quiet about any ambitions in public.

Pelosi is not bound to follow any tradition, and if she taps an individual, they have no choice in the matter. And while there are definite benefits to being selected, there is also a possibility of bombing in the spotlight:

The role of impeachment manager could help with the base and make a member an instant figure in the media and speaking circuit, said Virginia Democrat Rep. Gerald E. Connolly. “They’re going to be in the history books,” Connolly said.

But there are downsides too. “It’s a lot of work for a brief moment in the sun, although a brief shiny moment in the sun,” Connolly said. “You could also really flop. All this expectation and you’re not quite what we thought. You bored the hell out of people, or you weren’t very compelling.”

[Ed. My guess is that a whole lot of members are secretly hoping they will be selected, and are artfully draping their subtle signaling in a protest of faux-humility (“Oh surely there are more deserving and qualified…”).]


Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported that a group of 30 House freshmen led by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips sought to have Rep. Justin Amash as an impeachment manager.

Amash was the first Republican lawmaker to say that Trump committed impeachable offenses, and then left the Republican party and became an independent in July. He tweeted over the weekend that Republicans are “making a concerted effort to mislead” about impeachable wrongdoing.

With Republicans apparently in lockstep in opposition to the articles of impeachment, Pelosi could see an advantage in adding Amash to the managers, Phillips told the Post.

“To the extent that this can be bipartisan, it should, and I think including Representative Amash amongst the impeachment managers is a smart move both for the country, for the substance and for the optics,” Phillips said.

Here is the tweet referenced:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Why Should I Think Brian Stelter Is Reliable About, Well, Anything?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:15 am

[guest post by Dana]

I’m wondering which Supreme Court Justices *haven’t* gone on talk shows to promote their new books:

Of course, to Stelter, the problem isn’t Gorsuch goosing book sales, it’s that he’s a conservative Justice appearing on Fox and Friends, which everyone knows is the most Trump-friendly news/talk show around.

Anyway, I tried to locate a similar protest from Stelter when Justice Sonia Sotoymayor promoted her book Just Ask! on the not-Trump friendly Daily Show with Trevor Noah, or when she appeared on the not Trump-friendly Colbert Report to promote her autobiography, My Beloved World, and was unable to locate any similar concerns. And funny, I also couldn’t find any objection by Stelter about Justice Stephen Breyer promoting his third book, The Court and The World on the Colbert Report. Note: both Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert have made it very clear that they have no love nor respect for Trump. Neither do I, but at least I am an equal-opportunity critic of hack politicians and media outlets – no matter what side of the aisle they represent. Clearly Stelter cannot say the same about himself.

Given that Selter makes it clear that only one side of the aisle matters, while he promotes himself as a serious journalist who anchors Reliable Sources and is CNN’s chief media correspondent, why anyone would find him reliable in his reporting is beyond me. If he can’t be consistent in the small and inconsequential matters, why on earth would I think he would be any different with the weightier issues that actually matter?



(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



The Unmitigated Gall And Self-Delusion Of Harvey Weinstein

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:28 am

[guest post by Dana]

Looking to generate some sympathy before his upcoming rape trial, the disgraced movie mogul who has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by more than 80 women, petulantly whined in his first interview in more than a year that he deserves credit for his support of women, because he is a delusional bastard:

“I feel like the forgotten man,’’ the 67-year-old alleged rapist griped last week.

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!” he bragged.

“It all got eviscerated because of what happened,’’ Weinstein said bitterly. “My work has been forgotten.’’


“I want this city to recognize who I was instead of what I’ve become”[.]

In response, 23 of his accusers released a formal statement reassuring Weinstein that he’ll certainly be remembered – just not in the way what he hoped:

“Harvey Weinstein is trying to gaslight society again,” the women say in the statement, provided to the Los Angeles Times. “He says in a new interview he doesn’t want to be forgotten. Well, he won’t be. He will be remembered as a sexual predator and an unrepentant abuser who took everything and deserves nothing. He will be remembered by the collective will of countless women who stood up and said enough. We refuse to let this predator rewrite his legacy of abuse.”

And then there are these choice words from Rose McGowan, one his fiercest and unrelenting accusers:

There is no doubt that Weinstein is a sick, delusional bastard, as evidenced by his belief that years of sexual harassment, assault, and the denigration of women should be ignored, or at the very least, pale in comparison to what he considers his good works on behalf of women. And yet the ghastly irony is, the very community from whom he demands recognition is the very same community that willingly looked the other way – for decades – as Weinstein preyed upon its members.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


The Interview: James Comey Says He Was Overconfident, Chris Wallace Says Words Mean Something

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:30 am

[guest post by Dana]

James Comey admits that he was “wrong” about the bureau’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the Russia investigation:

“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough. It’s incredibly hard to get a FISA.”

“He’s right: There was real sloppiness,” Comey added.

President Trump’s reaction to Comey’s admission:

More from their exchange:

Chris Wallace: Horowitz says it wasn’t part — as you told Bret Baier — it wasn’t part of a broader mosaic. He said it played an essential role in establishing probable cause. In fact, he says, if it hadn’t been for the Steele dossier, the FBI probably would haven’t even submitted a FISA application — that it had been reviewed in April of 2016 — or August, rather, of 2016 — they decided not to do it. They get the Steele dossier. They do it. It wasn’t part of a broader mosaic. That’s what you said, sir.

James Comey: I’m not sure he and I are saying different things. What his report says is that the FBI thought it was a close call until they got the Steele report, put that additional information in, and that tipped it over to be probable cause. It’s a long FISA application. It includes Steele material and lots of other material. I don’t think we’re saying different things.

Chris Wallace: Well, I think you are, sir, because he’s saying — you’re saying it’s part of a broader mosaic; it’s just one element. He’s saying it was the tipping point. It’s what brought it over. That doesn’t make it part of a broader mosaic; it makes it the centerpiece of the whole FISA application and the ability to surveil Carter Page.

James Comey: Yeah. I don’t understand it to be saying that. I could be wrong about that —

Chris Wallace: Well, I’ve just — I’ve got his —

James Comey: — I understand —

Chris Wallace: — quote here. He says, “We concluded the Steele reporting played a central and essential role in the decision to seek a FISA warrant, that it pushed the FISA proposal over the line in terms of establishing probable cause.” I mean, he says —

James Comey: Yeah.

Chris Wallace: — what he says. Words mean something.

James Comey: Yeah. And I agree with his characterization. I’m just confused — I no — I don’t see the disconnect between the two of us. And I’m sorry that I’m missing it.

Here is the full interview with Chris Wallace and James Comey:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Did Former President Obama Weigh In On 2020 Democratic Candidates?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:00 am

[guest post by Dana]

Why, yes, I think he did: sexism, ageism, and identity politics in one fell swoop::

…Obama declared at the private event, “Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us.”

“I’m absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything… living standards and outcomes,” he expressed, adding, “If you look at the world and look at the problems it’s usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way.”

“It is important for political leaders to try and remind themselves that you are there to do a job, but you are not there for life,” he continued. “You are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self importance or your own power.”

Obama giving a speech about how women should rule because men drool is a bit rich given that he sure didn’t step aside in 2008 so that a female candidate he insultingly dismissed as “likable enough,” could become the first female Democratic presidential nominee. But if you consider that his recent comments also included taking a shot across the bow of Joe Biden (77 years old) and Bernie Sanders (78 years old), it all makes sense. Elizabeth Warren, grinning like the Cheshire cat this morning…

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 186

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 10:42 am

It is the third Sunday of Advent. Today’s Bach cantata is “Ärgre dich, o Seele, nicht” (Do not be confounded, o soul):

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 11:2-11:

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:

“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’

Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

My Savior lets Himself be seen
in His works of grace.
When He reveals Himself powerfully,
to instruct the weak spirit,
to nourish the weary body,
this satisfies body and soul.

Although it appears that He does not will it,
do not be afraid;
for when He is most with you,
He does not reveal it.
Let His word be sure to you,
and, although your heart says only No,
do not let yourself despair.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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